Phone Scam Here for the

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December 2, 2005
A new scam is here just in time for the holidays. Some callers can trick your caller ID into thinking they are your bank or credit card company. And that could put crooks one step closer to getting your personal information.

Your bank is calling, or so you think. Veronica Henderson got caller ID so she will know who’s on the line. If her bank called asking for her account number…

“I would just give them the information,” Henderson said.

But tele-spoofing is a service that lets the caller disguise themselves as anyone they want.

A warning sign to look out for, if the caller asks you for personal information to update your account, hang up the phone, it could be a scam.

Security Administrator James Van Meter from Medical College of Georgia finds lots of spoof websites popping up. This one had over 50,000 hits in the past year. He worries this might happen to his seventy-year-old mother.

“We had a computer crash and we need your pin number and account number so we can give you money for Christmas,” Van Meter said.

Keeping tabs on the companies that make and sell the spoof ID’s is difficult because they operate overseas.

“We are securing things from the beginning, not trying to react,” said Mark Staples, Director of Security at MCG.

Identity fraud is a felony in the state of Georgia, and applies to anyone who uses someone else’s personal information. But just buying a spoof caller ID isn’t against the law.

“That’s very frightening cause that’s my personal information,” Veronica Henderson said.

And you never know who wants it on the other end of the line. Laws against identity theft were passed back in 1998, and the state has prosecuted hundreds of cases since then.

So what can you do if you are a victim? The Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003 will help you alert creditors that you are a victim, like putting a fraud alert on your file, blocking your personal information and preventing businesses from reporting you.